Google Translate Update Challenges Microsoft’s Skype Translator

Google has plans to add real-time automatic speech translation capabilities to its Translate tool in a move that would put it in direct competition with Microsoft’s Skype Translator.

According to The New York Times, the additional functionality will be rolled out in Google Translate’s next update.

Google had originally touted the service in 2010, but it appears it has taken the search giant longer than predicted to develop.

In its current mobile and Web app form, Google Translate is limited to automatically translating written text only.

While the update will challenge Skype Translator, Microsoft’s product does still have the advantage of providing audio translations as well as text-based ones.

Google has seen more than 100 million downloads of its Translate app on Android, and claims to have 500 million active users of the tool per month.

Currently, Skype Translator only offers English-Spanish translations – two of the most spoken languages in the world – but support for more languages is planned for the future. For text messages sent via Skype, the service can instantly translate them to and from 45 different languages.

Google Translate offers nearly double that, with the ability to translate 80 languages, including relatively obscure ones like Welsh.

Indicating the search giant has a sense of humor, Google Translate also includes the ability to translate made-up languages such as Klingon and “Pirate.”

Google Translate is built into its Chrome browser, which can translate the text on a Web page into a language of the user’s choice, while Microsoft’s Bing Translation engine is featured in social media platforms Twitter and Facebook, giving both services a massive base of users.

Neither of the companies has detailed how they aim to address issues such as idioms and regional sayings that fail to translate directly into other languages.

However, Google Translate uses machine learning, so it should theoretically deliver better results the more it is used.

This article was originally published on V3.

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